Jeremiah 48

Chapter 48[a]

Against Moab. 1 In regard to Moab, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:

How sad it is that Nebo has been laid waste;
Kiriathaim has been captured and put to shame.
The fortress has been disgraced and overthrown;
2 the glory of Moab no longer exists.
In Heshbon, they plot her downfall:
“Come, let us put an end to her as a nation.”
And you too, inhabitants of Madmen,
will be reduced to silence,
slain by the sword.
3 Cries of anguish rise up from Horonaim,
speaking of devastation and complete destruction.
4 Moab has been crushed;
the agonized cries of her little ones
can be heard as far away as Zoar.
5 On the ascent to Luhith
they climb weeping bitterly.
On the descent to Horonaim
the anguished cry of destruction is heard:
6 “Flee! Save your lives!
Survive like a wild ass in the desert!”
7 Because you placed your trust
in your strongholds and your treasures,
you also will be captured.
Chemosh will go into exile,
along with all his priests and attendants.
8 The destroyer will move against every town;
not a single town will escape.
The valley will be laid waste,
and the plain will be destroyed,
as the Lord has said.
9 Set aside salt for Moab,
for she will be laid waste;
her towns will be left in ruins,
without a single inhabitant.
10 Accursed are those who are negligent
in doing the work of the Lord,
and accursed also is the one
who withholds his sword from bloodshed.
11 From its earliest days
Moab has been undisturbed
and never has gone into exile.
It has been like wine settled on its lees
that has never been transferred
from one decanter to another.
Thus its flavor has remained unaltered,
and its aroma has stayed unchanged.
12 Therefore, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will send men to him
to tilt the jars.
They will empty the vessels
and smash the jars.
13 Moab will then be ashamed of Chemosh,
as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel[b]
in which they placed their trust.
14 How can you say, “We are heroes,
men who are valiant in battle”?
15 The destroyer of Moab and its towns
has launched an attack,
and the flower of its youth has been slaughtered,
says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.
16 The destruction of Moab is near at hand,
and its doom will come shortly.
17 Grieve, all you neighbors of Moab
and all who were familiar with its name.
Say, “How the mighty staff is broken,
the glorious scepter!”
18 Descend from your seat of glory
and sit on the parched ground,
you who dwell in Dibon.
For the ravager of Moab has advanced against you
and destroyed your strongholds.
19 Stand by the roadside and watch,
you who dwell in Aroer.
Question the man fleeing and the woman escaping;
ask them, “What has happened?”
20 Moab has been destroyed and reduced to shame.
Wail and cry out, proclaim by the Arnon,
that Moab has been laid waste.

21 Judgment has come upon the plateau: upon Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath, 22 upon Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim, 23 upon Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon, 24 upon Kiriath, and Bozrah, and all the towns of the land of Moab, far and near.

25 The horn of Moab has been cut off,
and her arm has been broken, says the Lord.

26 Make Moab drunk, because she has placed herself on an equal level with the Lord. Let Moab wallow in her vomit and become a laughingstock. 27 Israel was once a laughingstock for you, although she was never caught in the company of thieves. Yet each time you spoke about her, you would shake your head.

28 Leave your towns, O inhabitants of Moab,
and make your home among the rocks.
Be like a dove that makes its nest
along the edge of a gorge.
29 [c]We have heard about the pride of Moab,
pride that exceeds all bounds:
her pride and her arrogance
and the haughtiness of her heart.
30 I am fully aware of her arrogance, says the Lord;
her boasts are false, her deeds are false.
31 Therefore, I wail over Moab;
I cry out in anguish for all of Moab;
I mourn for the men of Kir-heres.
32 More than for Jazer I weep for you,
O vineyard of Sibmah.
Your branches stretched beyond the sea,
reaching all the way to Jazer.
Upon your harvest and your vintage,
the despoiler has descended.
33 Gladness and joy have been removed
from the orchards of Moab.
I have stanched the flow of wine from the vats;
the joyful shouts of the treader of grapes
can no longer be heard.

34 Heshbon and Elealeh utter cries of anguish that can be heard as far away as Jahaz. The shrieks echo from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. For even the waters of Nimrim have become a desert waste. 35 In Moab, I will bring to an end the practice of those who offer holocausts on the high places or burn incense to their gods, says the Lord.

36 That is the reason why my heart wails like a flute for Moab and laments like a flute for the men of Kir-heres. The wealth that they accumulated has been lost. 37 Every head has been shaved, and every beard has been cut off. There are gashes on every hand, and every waist is covered with sackcloth.

38 On all the housetops of Moab and in all its squares nothing is heard but cries of lamentation, for I have broken Moab like a piece of pottery that no one wants, says the Lord. 39 How terrified Moab is, and how loudly does it wail as it retreats in shame. Moab has become a laughingstock and a source of horror to all of its neighbors.

40 For thus says the Lord:
Behold, like an eagle I will swoop down
and spread my wings over Moab.
41 The towns will be captured
and the strongholds will be seized.
On that day, the hearts of Moab’s warriors
will be like the heart of a woman in labor.
42 Moab will be destroyed as a nation,
for it established itself in opposition to the Lord.
43 Terror, the pit, and the snare await you,
O inhabitants of Moab, says the Lord.
44 Everyone who flees from the terror
will fall into the pit,
and everyone who climbs out of the pit
will be caught in the snare.
For I will bring all this upon Moab
in the year of her punishment, says the Lord.
45 In the shadow of Heshbon,
the fugitives stop in exhaustion.
For a fire has blazed forth from Heshbon,
and flames from the house of Sihon,
consuming the brow of Moab
and the skulls of the noisy revelers.[d]
46 Woe to you, O Moab!
You have been destroyed, O people of Chemosh.
For your sons have been led forth in exile
and your daughters into captivity.
47 Even so, I will restore the fortunes of Moab
in the days to come, says the Lord.
Thus far is the judgment on Moab.


  1. Jeremiah 48:1 This lengthy composition, marked by bitterness and irony, on the lot in store for Moab shows that Israel had long pondered its resentment against this neighbor, which had thrown itself on Israel like dogs unleashed against the game by the hunter (see 2 Ki 24:2).
  2. Jeremiah 48:13 Bethel: the sanctuary in the northern kingdom, erected in opposition to the temple in Jerusalem.
  3. Jeremiah 48:29 Moab, a pleasant and prosperous region, has now been devastated and weeps over its ruins. In this passage may be seen some parallels with chapters 15–16 of the Book of Isaiah.
  4. Jeremiah 48:45 The oracle recalls Sihon, the Amorite king defeated by Egypt in Moses’ time (Num 21:23-29); Heshbon had been his capital (Num 21:26).

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